Tuesday, January 29, 2019

THE STRONGHOLD - Marianne Evans - One Free Ebook

Welcome, Marianne. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I write Christian fiction and romance because that’s the genre I love most to read. Hope, faith, love, uplifting story arcs, strong heroes and heroines—to my mind, Christian fiction and romance has it all!

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
The happiest day of my life beyond my surrender to Christ is undoubtedly a three-way tie. My wedding day (my husband and I are heading into our 37th year together!), the birth of our son, and the birth of our daughter. They’re such a huge part of my heart! I could never pick a clear favorite between those three awesome milestones.

I think most wives and mothers feel that way. How has being published changed your life?
Publishing has changed my life because the art of storytelling has allowed me to connect with wonderful people across the globe I might never have met otherwise. We share stories, ministries, successes, and tears, and I treasure it all. I’ve always believed writing is a gift from God, but beyond crafting stories, He’s used that gift to nourish me in countless ways by allowing me to reach and touch other souls.

What are you reading right now?
I’m an avid watcher of the royal family. For Christmas my husband gifted me with a beautiful coffee table retrospective about Queen Elizabeth. I’m reading it now. As I take in the stories and snapshots of her life, I realize: I find it hard to imagine the world stage without her.

What is your current work in progress?
My recently completed WIP is A Long Way to Run. The story centers on an Olympic-caliber runner who loses his dream but finds love when he returns home to “the one who got away,” his high school sweetheart. For both the hero and heroine, redefining their lives and goals (and hearts!) form the backbone of this small-town romance. I loved writing it because my son and husband are marathoners (my son is about to run Boston for the third time! I’m so proud of him!). I loved exploring the running world, and the mentality/spirit behind such a commitment!

What would be your dream vacation?
My dream vacation would be a month-long visit to the Holy Land. I’d want to be there long enough to absorb, and explore, not just dash from site to site without letting the history and culture wrap around me.

Sounds wonderful. How do you choose your settings for each book?
I can’t really say that I choose settings for my books. My characters speak to me and tend to put me in whatever time or place or season they wish. I’ve written several books set in and around Detroit, because it’s home, and I’m Detroit Proud. I love shining a spotlight on my hometown. I’ve also fallen in love with Tennessee and have set a few books in Nashville. My travel adventures have also colored my writing to a degree. After visiting London and Florence, I had to memorialize them with romantic stories—I love those cities!

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
Please see my answer to question number 4 – LOL! Spending a day in the company of Her Majesty the Queen would be my dream. Not just because of her title but because of the history she’s experienced, the people she’s met over her 60-year reign. Although, in the interest of full disclosure, donning a tiara and performing a curtsy in full-on royal dress wouldn’t be too shabby, either!

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I love antiquing! I collect antique salt cellars. Salt cellars are small bowls, with spoons, that were used on dining tables to hold salt cubes before the time of pourable salt. You would use the spoon to chip off bits of salt, then sprinkle it on your food. The bowls are gorgeous—sometimes crystal, or metal, or colored glass. My two favorites are a metal bowl with an enamel mosaic design that came from Russia and a glass salt from Tiffany & Co. etched by Louis Comfort Tiffany with his initials!

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Easy. A lack of time! I work full time, I’m a wife, mother, and grandmother to a three-year-old boy who keeps me energized and busy. My writing schedule is something I have to guard with care and be very disciplined about. Sometimes I have to say “No” to things I’d love to do, but just can’t. My husband helps me overcome that obstacle—he understands my crazy writer mind-set, and even cooks dinner so I can write for a bit after work. During the weekends I put the hammer down and really focus on writing/plotting/marketing.

My precious husband of over 54 years does the laundry, washes dishes, and cleans house to help me have more time to write. We are both truly blessed. What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Do. Not. Ever. Give. Up. Writing is subjective. One editor’s rejection is another editor’s golden discovery. And believe me, you want an editor or agent who is as passionate about your work as you are. It’s mutual commitment. Keep pushing and trying and polishing and learning and submitting until you find the publishing house or agent of your dreams who shares an authentic drive to see you succeed.

Tell us about the featured book.
The Stronghold is book two of my Fisher Men of Antioch series from Pelican Book Group. We’ve all heard the story of the prodigal, right? (If you’re interested, I explore that theme in book one of this series: The Return!) The Stronghold explores the theme of the good son. The son who stayed behind. The son who followed expectation. The son who didn’t stray. Given the triumphant return of the black sheep, how would that make the good son feel? And, at the end of the day, are any of us truly The Prodigal? Are any of us truly The Good Son. In exploring this story arc, I’ve discovered we’re all a blend of both, and God’s message is clear: We’re all worthy of his love, grace, and mercy.

Sounds wonderful. Please give us the first page of the book.
Aaron Fisher twisted the knob on the radio of his jeep, cranking the volume on the oldies station. The Byrd’s version of “Turn, Turn, Turn” played and his lips curved as the song lyrics sank in, as a poignant melody filled the air with nostalgia.
A time to every purpose under heaven

Aaron and his older brother, Phillip, had always joked that the song resonated with so many people because the words came straight from The Great Author, God Himself, through the verses of Ecclesiastes.

A flood of gratitude covered his spirit. Tides had turned between him and Phillip. Resentment, anger, bitterness had been torn away in recent months, exposing a newfound closeness and affection between the two of them.

But the journey hadn’t been easy by any stretch.

Before Phillip’s return to Antioch, Indiana, Aaron would never have dreamed of resuming strong bonds with his oldest sibling. Aaron had stored too much pain after Phillip’s leaving to believe in new beginnings; that emotion had barreled straight to the surface of his soul, and their relationship, when Phillip came back and replanted roots in their hometown.

Antioch was rural, a farm community governed by a slow pace, deep faith, and the kind of small-town atmosphere folks craved without even realizing it—until they spent time within its borders, falling into its slow pace and vibrations of peace. Phillip had learned that lesson the hard way, and Aaron had learned to forgive and move forward with his brother all over again.

Praise God.

A time for peace…I swear it’s not too late…

Aaron smiled once more at the lyrics, then focused on the road ahead. To his right, just a block or so forward, members of the Antioch High School marching band high-stepped across the practice field. Aaron rolled down the driver’s side window of his vehicle, ignoring the chill of incoming air spiced by wood smoke. Preps for Friday night lights were in full swing this late autumn morning. Tonight, the Antioch Tigers would be taking on their arch rivals from Arcola. He tapped his fingertips in time to the peppy beat of the school anthem then lifted his hand in greeting to Scott Pepperfield who drove past in the opposite direction. Seeing Scott reminded him. He needed to stop by Pepperfield Farm Supply and pick up a gear case replacement kit for Ben. Now that harvest season neared its end, youngest sibling Ben would have time to work his mechanical magic on the family’s aged but still serviceable tractor.

First things first, though. Aaron checked the clock on the dash of his jeep and accelerated slightly. He had about ten minutes to spare. Before he started the day’s work at the farm, before a visit to Pepperfield, he had to attend Dad’s appointment at Briar Medical Center. The checkup wasn’t strictly routine, that’s why Aaron wanted to sit in on the consultation and be another set of eyes and ears as Dr. Skogee diagnosed some issues Dad continued to face following a heart attack he had endured six months earlier.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Here are my social addresses, and I love connecting with readers and writers!!
Twitter: MarEvansAuthor
Instagram: MarEvansAuthor

Thank you, Marianne, for sharing this new book with my blog readers and me. I’m eager to read it.

Readers, here are links to the ebook.
The Stronghold (Fisher Men of Antioch)

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

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Linda Kish said...

This sounds like a story I would really enjoy reading. Linda in CA

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Marianne Evans said...

Hi, Linda - and thanks so much for the visit! Are you a fan of small-town romances? Good luck with the drawing!!

Pam Graber said...

I love in a small town where everyone knows everyone and the only activity happens at the school. Therefore, I also love small town romances. I almost always find something to relate to in every one I read. Would love to win this book.

Pam in OH

Marianne Evans said...

Hi, Pam! Thanks so much for the visit! I think you and I are of the same mind when it comes to small town romance! It just "feels" good, right? I like (and have written!) big city romances as well - variety is always good - but the strength and heart of small town America always wins my heart. :-) Good luck with the drawing, and I hope you give this series a try! Sounds like it might be a great fit! xo

Connie Porter Saunders said...

Small towns, prodigals...sounds great!
Connie from Kentucky